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With the new year comes new social features and updates, and the spotlight is shining on social advertising. Social media continues to mash top-performing, engaging video content with paid advertising. Good news for Snappers, savers, likers and double tappers: social channels are also working to vastly improve the ebb and flow of user experience.

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The Facebook Audience Network Now Serves Ads to 1 Billion People Each Month

  • Odds are, you are one of the billion people viewing Facebook’s advertising network. Don’t be shocked. It was only a matter of time before Facebook’s more than 1 billion users transformed into those who make up Facebook’s ad audience network (FAN). The FAN lets brands deliver Facebook ad campaigns off of Facebook, using the same targeting. Facebook delivers these ads on the platform, and then continues to serve users these same ads around the web. Recently, Facebook’s VP of Publisher Solutions, Brian Boland, stated a not-so-surprising fact: video consumption at the end of 2016 was more than 10 times what it was at the beginning of last year.
  • What it means for brands: Video, video and more video. Take advantage of users who fall victim to your targeting, but don’t act. For example: Retargeting to a custom audience of people who watched your video but didn’t click through to the Shop Now webpage (yep, that’s an option) is the perfect way to reep the benefits of the endless FAN. Yes, more than 1 billion potential consumers is great for brand advertising views. However, if brands want consumers to act and engage, they better use video ad assets.

Additional resources: Marketing Dive

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(via Adweek)


Instagram Is Dropping Ads Into Its Stories

  • Similar to another social channel (cough, Snapchat, cough), Instagram introduced its Stories feature last August, and is now keeping it brand-friendly with 5-second image and 15-second video ads. Don’t fret. These ads will not -completely- interrupt the Stories. The ads will be skippable and will only appear between Stories content. Instagram representatives will be happy to assist brands in taking their advertising to this next level.
  • What it means for brands: The big “woop” for this ad capability is the expanded engagement and performance insights brands will be able to see through the Instagram app and ad manager platform on Facebook. Because daily Stories use increased by 50 million users in just three months, that’s a big deal for brands. Follow those that are already on the bandwagon (Nike, Airbnb and Netflix, to name a few) and get those ads in Stories.

Additional resources: engadget, Bloomberg

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(via Adweek)

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Pinterest Boosts Related Pins Using Deep Learning

  • Fascinated by how relative those Related Pins really are? Well, that’s the point. Related Pins are picked and served by Pinterest to users based on other saved or liked Pins. Collecting Super Bowl LI recipes? Pinterest may show you a Related Pin for fool-proof queso dip. Pinterest is deep diving into Related Pins to make them even more engaging and scalable. This filtration system generates user recommendations based on engagement (and behind-the-scenes algorithms).
  • What it means for brands: Users mostly make boards for broad topics so brands need to ensure their content isn’t too specific. Have a product that can fit under both “wedding inspo” AND “our new house?” Integrate both categories to expand their searchability and reach. Anything related to something else on some other board with a similar topic can fit into Pinterest’s “collaborative filtering,” but we’ll let the software engineers figure that one out.

Additional resources: PC Mag

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(via Pinterest) 

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Snapchat Is Now Pitching Brands on Sequential Video Ads

  • Brands can now bundle video ads on Snapchat’s The new sequential video ads place these videos back-to-back on autoplay. Fun fact: users can skip through. These videos can be related, completely different or even tell a story. As always, consumers won’t have to scroll to see this content (like on other social channels), so breaking content into timed segments can help brands reach different groups of potential consumers and keep users engaged (with your brand/content). These sequential ads are all planted in one channel on Discover.
  • What it means for brands: With more flexibility regarding ad video content, sequence and message, the possibilities seem endless with Snapchat’s sequential video ads…because they are. Whether a consumer watches five seconds of one video and eight seconds of the next, brands should ensure the purpose for the ad reaches the viewer in some way.

Additional resources: Marketing Dive

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(via Marketing Dive)

Snapchat Is About to Become Much Easier to Use

  • Can’t find a friend, celeb or brand on Snapchat? The new universal search bar can fix that. Get ready to stalk, Snap and screenshot with ease. Snapchat users will soon be able to search for the content and people they want: friends, publishers (Food Network, Daily Mail, etc.) and celebrities (most recently, Kylie Jenner) without hassle.
  • What it means for brands: Brands should aim to publish content on Snapchat that causes consumers to talk, generating more searches for said content. A still image of a bowl of spaghetti may make users hungry, but a video of a hand stirring a bowl of spaghetti? That’s the content that makes consumers hungry for more. On another note, consider keeping your username basic so that users can easily find who and what they’re looking for.

Additional resources: AdAge; Computerworld

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(via TIME)


W2O Social Scoop Logo_1024x512SOCIAL LIVE STREAMING IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD. Not really but, this month, it sure seems like it. The battle of the social platforms continues with live streaming at the forefront. Not sure what the hype is about? Read on, get the social scoop.

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Facebook Upgrades Video Offerings

  • This week, Facebook added 360 degree video to its Live function. In true Facebook style and with National Geographic as sponsor, the 360 launch featured content from the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. The 360-degree view encourages users to click and drag the screen to immerse themselves in a unique and more realistic experience.
  • What it means for brands: Just like with most hot new trends, don’t just hop on the band wagon without a clear strategy. Take advantage of any opportunities to utilize this function in a way that makes sense for your brand and adds value to the viewer. This is a chance for brands to get creative and make a statement. We can’t wait to see who hits the nail on the head.

Additional resources: RT


(via Facebook & National Geographic)

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Twitter Announces Direct Integration of Live-Streaming Within App

  • This month, Twitter took a step toward integrating Periscope further into the platform. Prior to this change, users were directed to Periscope’s app to set up an account or log in when they wanted to live-stream on Twitter. Now, users with a Periscope account can stream directly through the Twitter app (via a LIVE button) for a more seamless experience, encouraging more participation in the live video trend. Although live content is still saved into Periscope, it seems Twitter is moving toward phasing Periscope out entirely like they did recently with Vine.
  • What it means for brands: This new function makes it easier to stream live on the go, especially for brands who may be streaming at fast-paced events. Facebook Live is still the top performer in this space but Twitter has also found its niche in live sports streaming, while Facebook has focused on celebrities. For brands looking to live stream sponsored influencer content, Facebook remains more appealing.

Additional resources: Mashable


(via Social Media Today)


Instagram Launches Live Video Function

  • “I’m so surprised Instagram is launching live video features!” – said nobody. Instagram is the latest major social platform to hop on the live bandwagon and the rollout has arrived. Users will access live streaming via the Stories tab, where a toggle will flip to live. Here’s the catch…the videos are not stored anywhere. It’s easy to understand why the platform would want something to distinguish their live streaming from the rest, but more difficult to understand why they went this route, although it does go with their capabilities of not being able to save images.
  • What it means for brands: Although Instagram Live sounds like a trendy thing for brands to do, its inability to save live content is problematic. While it may be an appealing, edgy touch for your typical user, brands will have a hard time with truly live-only audience and metrics. Unless your audience is much more active on Instagram, platforms like Facebook Live may present a better alternative that can reach users even after the live stream ends. As far as advertising goes, stay tuned! We’re interested to see where opportunities may arise.

Additional resources: Romper


(via TechCrunch)

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Snapchat Adds 4 New Features, Including Much-Requested Group Chat

  • If you’re feeling like Snapchat group chat seems like the best idea anyone has had all year, you’re not alone. Snapchat Groups can hold up to 16 people and users can seamlessly send private chats to others in the group while remaining part of the conversation. As if that wasn’t enough, the social media giant is also revamping the paintbrush feature, and adding “scissor” and “Shazam” features. The scissor feature will turn cut-out components of snaps into stickers that users can store for later use and Shazam integration will enable users to identify any song that is playing and find out more information about it.
  • What it means for brands: On a smaller scale, this doesn’t mean much for brands just yet. However, when you look at the broader picture, these updates show Snapchat is serious about keeping their skin in the game. Competition between top platforms is sky high and these kinds of updates are what keep Snapchat relevant and retain their user base – which is good news for any brand looking to advertise on the platform. More to come as these features roll out.

Additional resources: TechCrunch; Thrillist


(via Adweek)

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Want to stay up-to-date with the latest in social media? Well, we’ve got the latest social scoop for you and lets just say, we’re psyched about Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and some (Pop)sugar news.


What Marketers Should Know About Instagram’s Shoppable Photo Tags

  • Instagram is making mobile shopping even more of a breeze. With the ‘gram’s new ability to tag products, users can know the brand and price of any product. Through the nifty purchase link, consumers are lead to a product page. Some may say this is similar to another platform’s shopping path (Pinterest, cough, cough) but Instagram just gave its app another use, bam. This feature is not only native to users, but it also doesn’t require another app install.
  • What it means for brands: While this new tool is applicable to all users, and most significantly brands, it presents the greatest opportunity for retail brands. Taggable products need to be used properly. Less clutter on the display is better for purchase conversions. Brands should focus on products in high-demand and tell a story with these products and the images posted. Using the taggable products feature correctly means increasing consumer engagement and may lead to more (impulsive) possible product purchase.

Additional Resources: Tech Crunch, The Verge


(via Adweek)

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Twitter Adds Conversation Ranking, Direct Reply Count to Mobile Apps

  • Twitter popularity status is now enhanced on mobile. The Direct Reply Count feature, first available on desktop, is now live on mobile and it’s quite neat. Users can see the total number of replies on their original Tweet. These replies may not display in chronological order because a sub-conversation grouping takes place. Replies are ranked by Tweet author replies and other similar factors to showcase the best content. Kudos to Twitter for making it easier to track replies, especially the relevant ones.
  • What it means for brands: It’s now even easier for brands to keep track of what replies are most important on their content thanks to mobile. Because most users consume Tweets via mobile, their replies and interactions are almost instant. Brands are now better able to keep up with the relevant rapid retweets and replies, and they’re also better able to filter out not-so-great interactions. Keep up with the speed of your followers, brands.

Additional resources: NextPowerUp, Tech Times


(via SocialTimes)

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Facebook is Testing Real-Time Ads for Live Videos

  • Live video is spreading fast so it’s no wonder Facebook is ad-ding on to it. Users will now be notified via a sponsored post once a broadcast is beginning or if it just ended. Catching users’ attention in the newsfeed is the central purpose of these posts. Viewers can then interact with the brand in real time.
  • What it means for brands: Brands have yet another way to capture the attention of consumers via live video. Users who follow specific brands may receive notifications when a brand “goes live.” Brands need to take advantage of the potential audience reach and scale made possible by these sponsored posts. Overall, visibility will reach an all-time high, and it’s up to brands to deliver content that drives broadcast views and interactions.

Additional resources: MediaPost, Marketing Dive


(via Mobile Marketing Magazine)

Facebook Developing Artificial Intelligence to Flag Offensive Live Videos

  • Nudity, violence and other offensive content will no longer be seen on Facebook Live…just give Facebook a second. The “book” is getting sneaky, using artificial intelligence to monitor content. Facebook will no longer rely on users to report offensive posts, or in this case, live videos. While this new algorithm is still in the works, Facebook’s automation that sorts through offensive content reports is still going strong. Not to worry.
  • What it means for brands: Brands are constantly monitoring and responding to negative feedback and they may even have to flag and delete unnecessary, user-generated content. Well, brands will be able to sit back and relax a little bit more now that Facebook Live will be covered, too. While it’s crucial to keep eyes peeled for naysayers, this artificial intelligence will make it easier for brands to connect what content matters to them to potential consumers.

Additional resources: Venture Beat, Info Wars


(via Reuters) 

In other (cool, social-savvy) news…

  • Want to know what’s trending? On every platform? In one place? Introducing the nifty, new TrendRank tool from Popsugar. TrendRank can basically tell the social trend future to brands as well as who is talking about them or sharing their content. Determination of trends is derived from “over 12 million data points every day,” sorted trend topics and engagements.
  • What it means for brands: What better tool to use to plan future content than going along with the trending topics on TrendRank? Brands have the utmost advantage with this tool. Depending on the topic itself, topic audience and any articles shared, brands can tailor their targeting and content to those audiences. Sidenote: this tool also saves brands’ backs if something has too much attention. Don’t follow behind a trend.

Additional resources: Social Songbird


(via Adweek)


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Facebook Users To See Multiple Products Within a Single Ad

  • As we get closer to the holidays, Facebook is testing out a new ad format that features multiple products in a single ad. With a two-click approach, the ads are positioned to draw consumers in while also encouraging a direct response. The idea is to engage consumers with native content and then present more traditional product ads underneath to encourage users to click to shop for the featured products. Brands currently using the format, including Michael Kors, are toying with longer form content as the main draw-in.
  • What it means for brands: Brands will be anxiously anticipating this roll-out. Michael Kors stated that their cost per conversion fell by 79 percent over the course of their fall campaign, which features the new ad format. With native content trending, brands are constantly faced with the challenge of creating content that drives both engagement and direct purchase conversions. This new ad format is a promising answer to those needs.

Additional resources: Internet Retailer


(via Adweek)

Facebook’s Latest Measurement Errors Rankles Ad Buyers

  • #SMH…Facebook just announced calculation errors with regards to its organic reach, video view completion and other metrics. When it comes to video view completion metrics, the platform says it undercounted video views to 100%. Once fixed, this could mean a 35% increase in video watches to 100%. In terms of organic reach miscalculations, Facebook says it discovered that week or month-long reach was overestimated due to a lack of consideration for duplicate user reach. Facebook also stated that the platform miscalculated time spent on Instant Articles, referrals in Facebook Analytics for Apps, and follower counts on interest lists. In response, Facebook plans to develop a measurement council and allow more third-party verification of its metrics. It also altered some metric names to more clearly represent what is measured.
  • What it means for brands: Facebook advertising is still a great way to reach a targeted audience. What brands should take away from this is that platform data is not bulletproof. Data should always be examined within the context of its campaign but, overall, Facebook data remains a reliable resource. If anything, this could be good news as it has forced the social media giant to welcome more third-party measurement providers to ensure the quality of its data.

Additional resources: Variety; Advertising Age; Digiday


(via Advertising Age)

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Pinterest Debuts Auto-Play Video Ads, Explores Content-Discovery Feature

  • Less than three months after launching video ads, Pinterest is testing auto-play features to enhance the user experience. The new pins will automatically play as a user scrolls through their feed. Once clicked, the videos will roll into a playlist of auto-play video content. This benefits brands who develop these videos, allowing them to produce episodic content. In addition, Pinterest announced they are launching a new “Explore” feature that will compile hot and trending content for users to browse from publishers such as Tastemade, Refinery29, and Brit+Co.
  • What it means for brands: Rich pins continue to become more and more attractive for brands. With auto-play, brands can develop episodic content that allows more than one ad to reach consumers at once. The fate of advertising within the Explore section of Pinterest is not yet decided, but we think it has huge potential so keep your ears open for updates.

Additional resources: Tech Crunch


(Via SocialTimes)

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FDA to Study How Promotional Tweets for Drugs Should Convey Side Effects

  • Pharma giants and marketing agencies alike know the Food and Drug Administration is years behind when it comes to marketing in the digital age, especially when it comes to Twitter. The last decade has left us confused and has hindered many pharmaceutical companies from pursuing all that social media has to offer in the way of marketing and advertising. Recently, the FDA announced a proposed study on whether one-click side effect information is acceptable.
  • What it means for brands: After years of confusion, could we finally get some solid answers from the FDA about how to properly use social media for pharma marketing? Maybe, and maybe not. The hope is that the FDA will approve one-click guidance so that pharma companies can feel more confident advertising on social media. This will also free up more character space for valuable information about products and uses. However, while the one-click rule clarification will be very useful, the FDA is still a bit behind with this type of guidance. If the FDA provides guidance on the one-click rule, pharma companies may see social media marketing doors open to provide new opportunities but the industry still has a long way to go. This is a win and a step in the right direction!

Additional resources: Fierce Pharma


(via Stat)


Instagram Is Letting Brands Test Taggable, Buyable Products in Photos

  • Brands are testing a new feature on Instagram that enables product tagging in posts. Products are tagged with a price and link out to the brand’s website for purchase. The overarching goal is to smooth out the buying process without interfering with the app’s notorious native feel. To achieve this, these new posts will feature a small indicator that must be clicked in order to see the price tagging. From its beta, Instagram says it wishes to learn how much value the feature adds for businesses as well as how native it feels for users. Instagram noted that a longer term goal is to enable users to save content that captures their interest for later purchase.
  • What it means for brands: Similar to Pinterest’s new features mentioned above, this update provides brands the opportunity to make a stronger push for purchases without sacrificing the native feel of their content. In addition, this feature provides a great way for brands side step Instagram’s inability to link in posts. Brands will be able to post beautiful, native content while encouraging purchases.

Additional resources: TechCrunch


(via TechCrunch) 



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Want to stay up-to-date with the latest in social media? Well, we’ve got the latest social scoop for you and it’s focused on the king of social media creative, the almighty video. Utilizing video has never been easier for brands with updates from Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest.


Instagram Appears to Be Testing Live Video

  • Instagram has plans to go live with its “stories” feature introduced this past summer. Facebook is investing a lot of time and money in both live immersion and virtual reality as of late so it’s no surprise this update is fast-approaching.
  • What it means for brands: Here’s what we know – Facebook is a powerhouse and (live) video content is everything these days. Brands should pay close attention to their Instagram (and Facebook) strategies, especially on how to incorporate live video into their campaigns. Live video is set to compete with TV ads and there’s a new connection to be made with livestreaming-savvy audience.

Additional resources: Marketing Dive


(via The Verge)

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Facebook Announces Scheduled Live Broadcasts Update

  • Facebook is expanding Facebook Live with a new superpower. Verified pages can now schedule live broadcasts within Facebook’s publishing tool which means both marketers and consumers can plan for a broadcast. Brands can schedule a broadcast one week in advance, and followers can join the broadcast three minutes prior. Once a live video is scheduled, followers will receive a notification. They can then opt in for a reminder right before air time if they enable that notification.
  • What it means for brands: Brands can now build anticipation before curtain call. They can promote a broadcast throughout an entire week and gauge success based on established audience size prior to the broadcast. This is also great for specific industries with stricter permissions, such as healthcare, that can schedule live broadcasts in advance and provide insight into the audience prior to the broadcast.

Additional resources: The Verge


(via Social Media Today

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Snapchat’s Removal of Autoplay

  • Since Snapchat removed autoplay, snap views decreased by an average of 15 percent, which is a huge deal for influencers and brands alike. However, while less users are viewing snaps, viewer engagement is still the same. That’s now the challenge for the selfie-driving platform – encouraging brands to optimize content.
  • What it means for brands: Brands now have the challenge of driving Snapchat users to their pages or profiles. Autoplay was never great for marketers anyway, because with pop-up ads and the ability to skip through a snap, who knew if users were paying attention to their content? At the point, marketers should focus on building engaging campaigns that provide interest to their audiences so that they’ll voluntarily opt into a snap, as well at utilizing other tools on the app like geo-filters and video filters.

Additional resources: Digiday


(via Digiday)

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Pinterest Adds New Promoted Pins

  • Now users can one-tap, video tap and app tap thanks to the newly-introduced promoted Pinterest One-tap pins direct users straight to a corresponding website, instead of loading the pin page itself. Video pins can be viewed right on Pinterest without clicking off to another site. Users can head straight to an app store via promoted app pins, and download right away.
  • What it means for brands: These promoted pins can be used for awareness, engagement and traffic The new promoted pins are fast, direct and user-preferred, and Pinterest anticipates positive results on performance. Brands should always be thinking about how new tools and capabilities fit into their social strategies, and while it appears that Pinterest has been making multiple recent updates to their Promoted pins tool, each one enhances the other and brands need to keep up.

Additional resources: Pinterest


(via Adweek)


It is not news that social media has changed every arena and industry since its genesis, from social justice movements to healthcare to television; the sport’s world is no exception. Social media, specifically Twitter, has transformed how fans and foes communicate with one another and with their teams. The social media giant essentially serves as a virtual sports’ bar for fans and rivals alike to brag, argue, boo, or cheer despite location.

You are not a fan of the call the ref made? Complain with your fellow fans.

Did your favorite player have an excellent game? Brag with your fellow fans.

Did your team dominate in the season opener? Let the world know about it.

Are you ready for your team’s season to get started? Sing your rally cry in 140 characters.

Did your team break a curse that lasted 108 years? Fly the W with the fellow Chicago faithful.

This phenomena of a virtual sports’ bar was showcased through the pinnacle of America’s favorite pastime, the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. Specifically, how Cubs’ fans discussed being cursed on Twitter throughout the post season.

The Curse of the Billy Goat and the Chicago Cubs

Even if you are not a die-hard baseball fan, odds are you are aware that the Cubs playing the World Series is historic at minimum and a dream come true to many of the Chicago faithful. Since 1945 many fans have believed that their beloved Cubbies were cursed by tavern owner, William “Billy Goat” Sianis. Sianis attempted to bring along his pet goat, Murphy, to game four of the 1945 World Series. The pair was not admitted because of Murphy’s smell which angered Sianis greatly. It is reported he professed, “The Cubs ain’t gonna win no more.” The Cubs lost that World Series and instantly The Curse of the Billy Goat was born.


The Curse was nearly broken in 2003, which fans refer to as the “Bartman game”. The Cubs were up 3-0 and just five outs away from their first World Series appearance in nearly 60 years. A foul ball was hit that fell over the wall in the left field, Cubs’ left fielder Moises Alou went to make the grab to close out the inning, but a fan (Steve Bartman) reached for the ball as well, knocking it out of play. Following this play the Cubs gave up five runs that inning, losing the game and ultimately losing the National League Championship Series. The curse lived on.

Curse Conversation on Twitter

Twitter was not around during the lion share of the Curse of the Billy Goat, it certainly was not around in 1945 and still had not gotten off the ground for the Bartman game in 2003. Can you imagine if an entity existed where any fan, rival, spectator, coach or reporter could gather in one space to discuss the magnitude and heartbreak of the curse?

Thanks to the creation Twitter and our analytics team we do not have to.

Our analyst listened to how frequently the words/phrases: curse, cursed, curse of the Billy goat, Billy Goat, Steve Bartman or Bartman were mentioned along with the Cubs throughout the postseason (October 7, 2016 – November 3, 2016).  Check out our findings below:


The Importance of Knowing Your Audience

Twitter has not only eliminated the guessing game in the sports’ world but in a plethora of industries. The platform has created virtual physician offices, virtual presidential debate watch parties, and virtual discussion groups on topics ranging from latest software update to the latest museum openings. Brands, companies and people are no longer guessing what the people they care about are talking about and how they are behaving online. At W2O Group we define this as audience architecture. The combination of technological advancements, analytics expertise and a need to improve outdated models is leading to a new way to identify, architect and then learn from the specific audiences you care about.

In short, it is key to know what audience segments are saying about themselves, but also what their online behavior is saying about the types of stories that will have the most impact on them, whether it is discovering a product or celebrating the end of 108 year old curse, people are talking on social media and it is key for brands and companies to listen.

Jon Carillo HeadshotCreative for this project was provided by Jon Carrillo, a graphic designer at W2O Group. Connect with him on LinkedIn and if you don’t mind the occasional rant about the San Antonio Spurs, follow him on Twitter at @JonnyCTweets


aaeaaqaaaaaaaasraaaajdhlngrlmtrjltnhnzgtndc2zs1izwfjltm1mjc0ztlkyjcxnwAnalytics for this project were provided by Madison Reineke. Madison is a junior analyst at W2O Group where she focuses on deriving data-driven insights for a wide breadth of clients. She is a recent graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and majored in Advertising Management. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Wondering about the latest in the Snapchat vs Instagram war, what new updates are coming from Facebook, or what platform will maximize your advertising dollars during the holidays? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

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Workplace by Facebook Opens to Sell Enterprise Social Networking

  • Is being on Facebook at work now acceptable? After using a similar interface internally for years, Facebook released a beta version of its new workplace communications service at a recent event in London. Previously named “Facebook at Work,” Workplace starts at $3 per user each month and has been implemented by over 1,000 invited companies. Not-for-profits and educational organizations will have access for free. The service has its own separate and branded desktop and mobile apps that target both traditional and non-traditional office settings.
  • What it means for brands: We know social media giants are edging their way into new realms, but time will tell how many companies choose to adopt Facebook as their go-to internal communications method. As for the future of social media, this is just the start of the top players wanting to becoming one-stop-shops for all things social and beyond. Will Facebook run the world? Time will tell.

Additional resources: TechCrunch


(via TechCrunch) 

Facebook Opens Doors to Marketplace

  • Per the post above…. if it seems like Facebook is taking over the world… you’re probably onto something. Facebook recently introduced one of its newest projects, Marketplace. In a bid to compete with craigslist and eBay, Marketplace uses location settings to present users with items for sale in their area. From a seller’s perspective, it’s as easy as taking or uploading a photo of your product, naming and pricing your item, and confirming the pick-up location and product category. You can even post to buy-and-sell groups simultaneously. As a buyer, you can search for items and message sellers prior to making an offer.
  • What it means for brands: For the time being, this doesn’t mean too much to [large] brands. Both unpaid and paid social brand advertising are blocked on Marketplace, so pay-to-play is not yet a factor, and brands don’t have access from their page to buy and sell. Marketplace’s product manager did hint that business features may be added to the app in the future so brands should be on the lookout for updates about this and more (especially those in retail).

Additional resources: Marketing Land; Facebook


(via TechCrunch)

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Snapchat Launches Post-Roll Ads & Story Playlist

  • We’ve been anxiously awaiting Snapchat’s next move as the company plans to IPO as early as March. In an effort to push back against their largest competition, Facebook owned Instagram, Snapchat released Story Playlist, which makes it easy to consume content the way many users already do on the platform. Story Playlist enables users to click on stories they’d like to view and add them to a “playlist” which then plays all the selected stories consecutively, skipping over stories the user did not choose to view. In a move to boost revenue streams with this change in mind, Snapchat Snap Ads will now play in between stories within the playlist. Snapchat also released post-roll ads for single-play snapchat views. Of note, this update will also enable changes to the to the Discover pages. Discover stories will now appear beneath updates from friends, with their own page remaining to the right of the Stories feed.
  • What it means for brands: Brands, pay attention: Snapchat’s Discover channel just got demoted to the bottom of the feed. Time will tell how Discover stories function in their new location, but we can expect to see less ad spend toward Discover and more toward other options on the platform. With the app pushing user-generated content first, these new post-roll ads and advertising between playlist stories are definitely more appealing.

Additional resources: The Verge


(via The Verge)

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Pinterest: A Top Pick for the Holidays

  • Often overlooked by social marketers, Pinterest proves to be one social platform that has achieved substantially more success when it comes to in-app purchase completion. Millward Brown Digital reported 93% of Pinterest consumers use the platform to plan for a purchase, and as many as 87% make a purchase after viewing items on Pinterest. The platform has a variety of targeting features, including retargeting, and is testing their “buyable” pins that allow users to purchase directly via the pin, with one click. Pinterest enlisted Millward Brown Digital to enhance its targeting and metrics reporting capabilities, which now include brand awareness, favorability, and purchase intent. Brands can now create audiences that target based on clicks, comments, saves, “closeups,” and likes.
  • What it means for brands: With the holidays upon us, those numbers are immense. With 1.1 billion holiday pins saved last year and seamlessly integrated promoted “buyable” pins, Pinterest should be on your brand’s list for paid and organic social media advertising this year. With improved targeting and reporting capabilities, the platform makes a great addition to brands’ social advertising mix for the year.

Additional resources: Advertising Age; Media Post


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Twitter Introduces New Conversion Tracking Capabilities

  • Twitter released a beta for an enhanced conversion tracking tool that separates the previously combined website clicks and website conversions tracking. The company also gave its “website clicks or conversions” campaigns a new name: “website visits.” Using data from Twitter’s website tags and interest and intent signals, the platform will optimize to boost conversions and lower costs.
  • What it means for brands: These changes will allow brands to either continue using Twitter the way they were previously, by tracking website visits, or leverage the new website conversion capabilities. By using these new features, brands will have a more seamless experience in website conversion tracking. To use this new feature, brands must enable Twitter’s website tag and set key conversion events with set cost per conversion goals.

Additional resources: Venture Beat; Adweek


(via Twitter)


  • Instagram has more than doubled its number of advertisers in the last six months as it tops 500,000 advertisers. The company announced its seen around 1 billion actions taken on Instagram ads since it released its API last September. The top five countries of adoption are the US, Brazil, the UK, Australia, and Canada, with the top five verticals being consumer packaged goods, ecommerce, retail, entertainment, and technology. Per Instagram, 50% of Instagram users follow business accounts and 75% of users reportedly take actions inspired by an Instagram post.
  • What it means for brands: More and more brands are opting for Instagram ads. The ability to advertise on the platform with just a Facebook page and not an Instagram profile, and the seamless integration of Facebook and Instagram ad creation in Facebook’s Power Editor are huge perks for social media advertisers. With 1 billion actions on Instagram ads, brands should seriously consider adding Instagram to their mix.

Additional resources: Adweek


(via SocialTimes)


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Want to stay up-to-date with the latest in social media? Well, we’ve got the latest social scoop for you and let’s just say, we’re keeping an eye on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as we head into fall.


Instagram Is Finally Letting Users Hide Inappropriate Comments

  • Instagram is taking great steps to ensure the safety of brands on the platform. In order to keep comments under control, they have introduced a keyword moderation tool that anyone can use by clicking the new “Comments” column within the “Options” tab. Within “Comments,” users can enable “Hide Inappropriate Comments,” in which Instagram will hide comments that include keywords from the “Custom Keywords” list that a user and/or brand includes as a filtered word. There is no limit to the amount of words that can be added to the list, and Instagram will hide comments that contain the words, phrases and even emoji that you choose to mark as inappropriate or spam. Of note, users can also use default words that Instagram provides.
  • What it means for brands: While this new tool is applicable to all users, and most significantly brands, it presents a great opportunity for pharmaceutical brands to have a “safe” presence on Instagram. Currently there is no true way to monitor comments that filter onto the platform, other than manually, which can result in weary from some brands. Being able to upload filtered lists into the site will help regulate and monitor this process.

Additional Resources: Business Insider


(via Adweek)

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Twitter Now Lets You Post Longer Tweets After 140-Character Limit Relaxed

  • Twitter is breaking the barrier on its 140-character limit. Attach an image, GIF, video, poll or other media attachment, and the character count will NOT change. Want to mention a friend, company or celeb? As long as their @username is in the beginning of the reply, it will not add toward character count. Bonus: quote Tweets won’t count, either. So what’s the catch? Embedding media attachments takes away from the character count, so choose wisely, and most significantly, these new updates are not applicable to Twitter ads.
  • What it means for brands: This character adjustment gives brands the opportunity to increase conversation by having the flexibility to post most throughout content, reply to consumer questions, and more without having to worry about the character count (as much). However, that one big caveat is that these updates don’t apply to ads – which most brands use these days to promote their content, raise brand awareness, and more. We’re thinking this is Twitter’s way of trying to play nice, while still keeping the reigns on their original platform since they know most brands/advertisers have made the shift to ads as their main content distribution. We’ll see if they bring this update to ads at a later date, but all in all, keeping content shorter is still going to be the smarter move to keep the audience engaged and contribute to the authenticity of the quick updates that are common to the platform.

Additional resources: The Inquirer; Venture Beat


(via The Telegraph)

Opening Up Moments To More Creators

  • Stay up-to-date on your favorite events, influencers and brands with expanded Twitter Celebrity influencers and brands alike can tell their stories through a collection of Tweets, pictures and videos. Now, there’s no searching for related content. It’s all (now, even more so) right there in Moments.
  • What it means for brands: Brands can further tell their story to consumers, and in an easier way. Moments are easy to absorb because of the curated Tweets. The way consumers now view and retain content coincides with the way Moments flow.

Additional resources: Adweek


(via Adweek)

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Snapchat Makes On-Demand Geofilters More Accessible

  • Say goodbye to the days when a birthday party was just an average birthday party because you won’t be able to escape any event without developing a custom Snapchat geofilter. Snapchat released customizable templates that make the on-demand geofilter option easier and more accessible for brands and consumers alike. On-demand geofilters are customizable and quickly made via the desktop version of the site from a series of options including theme and color. Users and brands can also create their own filters without Photoshop or Illustrator as long as they allow Snapchat a day to approve the design. Snapchat also introduced other new features, including the ability to make text bold, italicized, and underlined.
  • What it means for brands: Brands can now spread their wings (and sponsored ads) on Snapchat Discover or Snapchat Stories even more by paying for a geofilter, lens or video ad. If it’s easier to deliver more sponsored content to more consumers, brands can expect an increase of brand awareness and even conversions.

Additional resources: Mashable


(via Adweek’s Social Times)


Brands Will Know How Many People Bought Products After Seeing Ads

  • Advertisers can now stalk industry professionals with better ad buys thanks to LinkedIn’s conversion tracking Relying on third-party companies for campaign measurement is a thing of the past. The new conversion metrics are now a part of LI’s ad management. All it requires is a code tag on the company website.
  • What it means for brands: Because of LinkedIn’s access to professionals’ information, advertisers can see who is and isn’t contributing to sales. This new conversion tracking extracts the amount of sales leads, sign-ups, downloads and sales from a campaign. Advertisers can then alter campaign targeting and creative if needed to reflect the right audiences and those who are actually purchasing your product.

Additional resources: Marketing Dive


(via Adweek)

CaitlinThis blog was co-authored by Caitlin Orwin. Caitlin is a Social Media Marketing Associate at W2O where she works on all things paid social and social management. She loves writing copy and working with healthcare clients, as well as working in a dog-friendly office. Connect with her on LinkedIn or say hello to her on Twitter at @caitorwin.


W2O Social Scoop Logo_1024x512

We’ve got the latest social scoop for you: Instagram designs new features for the iPhone 7, Facebook tells advertisers to speed up, Twitter launches ad capabilities for Periscope, and more.


Instagram is Building New Features to Maximize the iPhone 7 Camera

  • Instagram’s head of design announced that the platform is building new features to enhance the user experience, in conjunction with the new iPhone 7 camera. What’s new? Instagram’s color filters and zoom options are redesigned to take advantage of the new iPhone’s camera, and now iPhone 7 users can seamlessly post iPhone Live Photos as Boomerang GIFs.
  • What it means for brands: With the release of these new features, brands are jumping at the chance to try them out. Several have already gotten creative with the ability to zoom. While the novelty of the feature may fade over time, this new ability will change the way brands can utilize the platform in creative ways in the future.

Additional resources: Adweek


(via Adweek)

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Facebook Tells Advertisers to Speed Up Sites or Don’t Bother Asking for Clicks

  • Facebook is optimizing for mobile ads, but needs brands to meet them halfway. Facebook will be “pre-fetching” ad content and storing the content in servers, allowing for a quicker load time. However, brands need to put in work, too if they want consumers clicking. Ads need to be both optimized for mobile and direct to a website that doesn’t take a while to load. In this case, a “while” means longer than three seconds (40% of consumers click away after three seconds). Brands can make this seemingly impossible task possible by using less code and smaller files on their websites.
  • What it means for brands: If brands want their content delivered to consumers, they have to get up to speed…aka, brands need to be on the same page as consumers. This means brands need to recognize and react to the trend of users ditching their content if the experience isn’t fast. Besides ad abandonment, failing to optimize websites can also prove challenging for tracking and performance.  

Additional Resources: Warc


(Via Ad Age)

Facebook Vertical Video Ads Just Went Live

  • Facebook is going vertical. With pressure from its thriving video competitor, Snapchat, Facebook decided vertical video is the way to go, and the results thus far are nothing short of justification. The user experience with vertical video is going very smoothly, resulting in higher view through and share/engagement rates than horizontal viewing (not to mention three times more efficient CPM rates).
  • What it means for brands: With less room for distraction, video ads and live broadcasts means brands get the attention they want. While Snapchat was the first to introduce vertical videos, the Facebook audience size of 13 billion/day trumps that of Snapchat’s 150 million/day. Vertical video just makes sense with the flow of a Facebook News Feed, and looks in sync with the way Instant articles and other ads are published, but brands need to make sure that if they’re going vertical, that they’re also shooting vertical so that the video is optimized for vertical viewing.

Additional Resources: Mashable


(via Adweek)

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Twitter Adds New Ways to Monetize Live Video

  • In an effort to compete with Facebook Live, Twitter announced an addition to Twitter Amplify that will enable brand participation and monetization. Brands will be able to sponsor Periscope content and earn a share of the revenue via Twitter Amplify, which pairs content creators with brands. Initial video content will be live, with video highlights being tweeted out by the creator and shared by the brands. Brands will also be included in the video title. Chase and Grey Goose are the first to jump on this opportunity. Both brands will be sponsoring U.S. Open coverage featuring Andy Roddick.
  • What it means for brands: While live sports seem an obvious match for this capability, new and creative applications are up for grabs. Time will tell how Facebook Live and Twitter Periscope shake out, but brands have unique opportunities to participate in the live video trend, and make a profit doing so.

Additional resources: Business Insider


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Pinterest Announces New Re-targeting Options, Boosting Advertiser Potential

  • Pinterest is complementing its remarketing and lookalike audience tools introduced in June by introducing re-targeting of interested audiences. There are three options within this feature.
    • Engagement targeting allows brands to re-target based on engagement with a Pin (i.e. save, re-pin, etc.)
    • Website tagging enables brands to track what products their potential consumers are interacting with on their website. Businesses can then use this data to target consumers based on those products.
    • “Actalike” audiences, formerly called “Lookalike” audiences, will now be the targeting of people who have similar “save” and purchase behaviors.
  • What it means for brands: Each of the new capabilities allows brands to target more successfully based on specific behaviors and engagements. Engagement targeting means only increasing the already-impressive purchase rate 30 days after a Pin is saved. The updated website tag means tracking numerous engagements/events: page visits, category views, website search, add to cart, checkout, watch video, signup, lead and even custom events. “Actalike” audiences allow for similar, potential consumers to be grouped together and targeted more successfully. It’s a whole new beginning for targeting power, and the brands can only reap the benefits of purchases to come.

Additional resources: Marketing Heroes


(Via Social Media Today) 

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Snapchat Ad Sales to Reach $935 Million Next Year

  • Snapchat’s projected 2016 ad revenue is up 519% from 2015 and expected to grow to over $1B in 2018, according to a new eMarketer report. With more and more advertisers utilizing its unique ad offerings, including sponsored animated lenses and SnapAds on its Discover channel between top content like BuzzFeed and the NFL, eMarketer predicts that vertical video ads between user stories will become the top source of the company’s revenue by next year. Snapchat has also been focused on improving its measurement and targeting capabilities in order to compete alongside Facebook and Twitter.
  • What it means for brands: Brands are hopping on board with Snapchat’s growing advertising offering. With ad revenue growth through the roof and critical improvements in the works, Snapchat is a unique option for targeting Millennials and Generation Z with creative content from lenses to geofilters. Brands should keep considering Snapchat as an advertising platform (and don’t need an account to do so); but all other social networks, watch out for this powerhouse!

Additional resources: TechCrunch; Adweek


(via Bizjournals)


LinkedIn Revamps Desktop Publishing Experience, Adds Other New Features

  • LinkedIn is on the fast train to efficiency with a few new features: save articles for later, content search and improved desktop publishing. Love to read…but not right now? The new save articles for later allows interesting reads to be put on hold with just a tap of a “save” icon. Users can find more of what they want to see on LinkedIn with the new capability to search keywords and click on hashtags. Create content with ease via the new desktop publishing enhancements: full-width display, various multimedia options and (of course) hashtags.
  • What it means for brands: Brands can now add hashtags and optimized videos, images, slides and podcasts to their content. This means discoverability potential is at an all-time high, and brands need to get on it ASAP to reach more consumers. Better yet, brands can produce even stronger content thanks to the new desktop publishing enhancements. Brands need to take advantage of every single one of these new features, because, why not?

Additional resources: LinkedIn


carlyAs a Social Media Marketing Associate at W2O, Carly helps with all social requests such as social ads and management. Her favorite aspects of her position include having to stay on top of updated social news and trends and being able to work on projects for many different clients. Connect with on LinkedIn or say hi on Twitter @carlyilvento!


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What’s the latest social scoop this week? Facebook has exciting plans for the future, Instagram provides a FOMO cure, Twitter makes changes to its notification settings, and Pinterest introduces video ads.


Instagram Rolls Out Events Channel

  • Can’t make it to the Yeezy concert or the first NFL season-opener? You’re not alone. Instagram is trying to put all the FOMO to rest with a new video channel within a user interest-customized Explore tab called Events. Events is now a feature for music, sports and current event lovers alike. Based on the accounts a user follows and the posts a user likes, the Events channel will show users content that coincides with their interests.
  • What it means for brands: Brands have another opportunity for consumer reach through content that users actually want to see. More time spent on Instagram because of the Events channel means brands are more likely to be seen both via ads and organic content. Although brands can’t directly engage with their audience through Events, sponsoring/participating in a popular event could prove successful. If any real-life event catches the attention of enough users, it can be featured on the Events tab.

Additional resources: Bizzabo; The Next Web

Instagram 1

(via TechCrunch)

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Facebook Launches App Just for Teens

  • Facebook launched an iOS app for people 21 years old and younger, and…it’s all video-based. Lifestage is meant for high schoolers wanting to know more about their classmates and vice versa, but technically anyone can download. The app prompts users to fill in their bio using video. Users’ likes, dislikes, happy moments, relationships, pets, etc. can all be uploaded via video and then viewed by other users. While this app may seem similar to Snapchat, a key difference is that Lifestage populates user newsfeeds based on location, showing people from their high school as well as those nearby. If you thought also it was a way for Facebook to attract younger users again, users don’t need a Facebook account to use the app.
  • What it means for brands: While not many of Facebook’s standalone apps have succeeded (Slingshot, Paper and Notify), this app only brings the platform closer to reaching its goal of basing all apps and content services off of video. Reaching that goal means brands will not only be further encouraged to utilize promotional video, but also, they will be introduced to more advanced and tailored video services. In this case, another Facebook video platform = something even better is coming for brand video content.

Additional Resources: Computer WorldCNN Money

Facebook 1

(via TechCrunch)

Facebook’s CTO Talks Future Plans with Forbes

  • Facebook has big plans for the future. Its pillars? Connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality (VR). With a ten-year vision, Facebook’s CTO Mark Schroepfer has already made headway on each. This progress is marked by advances like Facebook’s technology that helps the visually impaired envision photos on Facebook through detailed captions. Aligned with Facebook’s overall mission to make the world more open and connected, the ten-year plan includes goals such as providing internet access to four billion people who are currently without it and finding ways for virtual reality to allow people to feel as close as possible no matter their actual distance. Overall, Facebook seeks to solve some of the world’s biggest problems in ways that they are equipped. When asked why the company is thinking so long-term, Schroepfer explains that intermediate milestones and patience are key to realizing those long-term goals. The future of Facebook is exciting in so many ways.

Facebook 2

(via E&T Magazine)

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Twitter Introduces New Notification Settings

  • Haters gonna hate…less now that Twitter introduced two new notification settings. Now users have the option to receive notifications only from accounts they follow. Trolls beware. While these Tweets can still be posted, this setting takes away the potential spam and harassment some users experience. The Twittersphere also has your back thanks to its “lower-quality content” filter which looks at signals like account origin and behavior. If certain Tweets don’t match up with user interactions and interests, then they won’t appear in their notifications tab. Say goodbye to duplicate and seemingly-automated Tweets.
  • What it means for brands: The users and topics brands want to track and utilize are now front and center. Brands will be faster and better able to generate content that not only appeals to their desired audience, but also reaches the right people more efficiently. Brands can now spend less time filtering through users and topics and more time building campaigns and content that support their products and services.

Additional resources: Twitter; Tech Radar

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(via Twitter)

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Pinterest Launches Video Ads

  • In a play to get more advertisers on board (pun intended), Pinterest announced its new video ad format last week. Pinterest has been working on its overall video format, and this latest feature proves they are betting brands are willing to pay the big bucks. Video components are of high value to brands and Pinterest is making the most of their abilities. Video ads will appear natively as short frame and expand into a bigger piece of content with sound when clicked. Not only is video length unrestricted, but similar to Facebook or Instagram Carousel Ads, each video ad is accompanied by six custom photo pins. This allows brands to build out great video content and include six CTA-featured pins simultaneously.
  • What it means for brands: According to Pinterest, consumers have saved/pinned 60% more video content in the last year than ever before. On a platform where 75% of consumed content is brand content, Pinterest knows brands will pay for high quality video content opportunities. Video ads are currently offered on a cost-per-impression model and not yet available through Pinterest’s self-serve ad platform. At this time, video ads are only offered to big-name brands that work with Pinterest reps, but we have a feeling that won’t last long. This new offering is a great opportunity for brands to start thinking about quality content that will grab attention quickly but also sustain interest once the ads are clicked. There’s also room to repurpose existing video content from YouTube, Facebook and other social platforms, to help increase the SEO of your existing content and provide future search compatibilities to new video.

Additional resources: Forbes; Fortune


(via Fortune)

CaitlinThis blog was co-authored by Caitlin Orwin. Caitlin is a Social Media Marketing Associate at W2O where she works on all things paid social and social management. She loves writing copy and working with healthcare clients, as well as working in a dog-friendly office. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn!



All social media platforms serve as a tool for storytelling.

Whether users are telling the stories of various humans of New York, sharing the story of their weekend through a series of 10-second photos, or capturing the perfect meal through the proper filter, all social networks empower users to publish their lives or the lives of others.

Twitter is no exception to this rule. However, the platform has always been unique in comparison to its competitors:  Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Perhaps Twitter’s most defining differentiator is its less visual platform, specifically compared to Snapchat and Instagram. Even so, Twitter is still competing (and generally winning) in the social media space. The question is… how?

What Makes Twitter Work?

Twitter has an ace in the hole:  it is the undisputed platform of choice for live events and iconic pop culture moments. From the 2016 presidential election to social justice movements to sporting events, people turn to Twitter for real time updates and to express their reactions and observe others’.

What is going in world news? Follow @CNN.

What is the score of the latest game? Follow @espn.

Who is the next big musician? Follow @allsongs.

How was your friend’s last day of work? Follow her account. (Don’t, though, because she is really MY friend.)

From the personal news of your friendship to global news, Twitter perfectly curates and delivers your content. Twitter has transformed into the modern day newspaper and that is why users love its platform.

Moon Landing





Kim K_TSwift Reaction

Additionally, the platform empowers users to create their own iconic moments for the world to celebrate, criticize, and join (e.x. #GIFOscars#FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes#CareFreeBlackKids2k16).

Users are notified when people within their network are tweeting, retweeting or liking the same topic or trend– so even if a user is not privy to the conversation, they can join in without missing a beat.

Melania Trump Quotes

How Will Twitter Grow in the Future?

Twitter’s latest move toward growing their cash flow and number of users is broadcasting sports within the platform. Twitter recently signed its first broadcasting deal with the NFL, which will allow the company to stream 10 Thursday night football games this upcoming season.

And football is not the only sport Twitter is interested in:  last month the platform hosted live coverage of Wimbledon. Plus the social media company has signed deals with the MLB, NHL, NBA and Pac-12 Networks.

Livestreaming sports may address the two main barriers of the platform. First, creating a steady flow of revenue. Potential advertising for brands most likely will pique the interest of marketers, providing a constant, dependable flow of cash. Second, broadcasting sports may help grow the amount of people who use the platform. The games will be available for people to stream regardless of if they have a Twitter account. This provides access to those who may have never interacted with the platform the opportunity to become familiar with the social media network. If people would like to join the conversation where they are tuning in, Twitter is the most natural fit, which may lead to more people signing up.

Case Study: Olympics 2016

Over the past couple weeks, our analytics team took a look at Twitter presence of the five members of this year’s USA women’s gymnastics team. Below you will see the number of mentions each member accrued over the entirety of the artistic gymnastics competition (August 06, 2016 – August 11, 2016; August 14, 2016-August 16, 2016).



If this volume of mentions can be amassed with merely five athletes in the span of two weeks, Twitter may be on the verge of becoming an untouchable competitor in the social media space.

Even outside of the five gymnastics’ superstars, Twitter has been bustling during the Olympics.

  • Tweeters have empathized with parents of competitors.
  • They have created overnight memes such as #PhelpsFace.
  • They have shamelessly praised their favorite athletes.

Katie Ledecky

It is clear the platform succeeds during live events, regardless of whether the event is streaming within the platform or not. However, one can only imagine how much success the network could have if the events that people were speaking about actually live-streamed in their feeds.

The combination of creating a platform where users can share their thoughts in real time while never having to leave the app could be the reason that Twitter does not just survive, but thrives. Plus, it eliminates the pain points of cross screen marketing for marketers, which may also be a reason they pay big bucks in ad dollars.

If streaming sporting events serves as a lucrative vehicle to gain revenue and users, Twitter may continue to strike up additional partnerships with other live events outside of the sports market. For example, Twitter broke social media ground by live-streaming the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

Twitter is thinking outside the box and launching into new spaces, and we are excited to continue to grow our clients through this platform.

Jon Carillo Headshot

Creative for this project was provided by Jon Carrillo, a graphic designer at W2O Group. Connect with him on LinkedIn and if you don’t mind the occasional rant about the San Antonio Spurs, follow him on Twitter at @JonnyCTweets!


Brad Snyder Headshot

Research assistance for this project was provided by MDigitalLife intern, Brad Snyder. Brad attends Tiffin University where he is a business major with a focus in marketing and a minor in international business. Connect with him on Linkedin and if you can tolerate Cleveland sports follow him on Twitter at @b_snyds!


W2O Social Scoop Logo_1024x512Facebook is on the loose. They had so many announcements in the last 2 weeks, we’re just trying to keep up. They expanded their Facebook Live capabilities, with a slew of new updates released and coming, and they also released new audience targeting features. Surely you’ve also heard about Instagram Stories, yes Instagram Stories, not Snapchat Stories. And while we’re talking about ads, YouTube introduced TrueView in-display video ads. Intrigued? Check out the scoop below!

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Facebook Live Tests Mid-Roll Video Ads

  • Facebook Live has begun testing 15 second ads that will be appear within live broadcasts. This move will mark the first time Facebook has placed ads directly inside a video. The ads will appear mid-roll as an ad break and have a lifespan of 15 seconds. Top publishing partners of Facebook will be the first to try out the new form of advertising.
  • What it means for brands: We knew when Facebook started its paid partnership with select publishers and celebrities to produce Facebook Live videos, that advertising within Facebook Live broadcasts was just a short step behind. Any opportunity to advertise is a good opportunity, and with Facebook’s push to increase Facebook Live use, content, and impressions, brands who aren’t as involved on the production side can still make their way into a Facebook Live broadcast. We’re excited to see what’s next and how targeting will roll out for these ads.

Additional resources: Business Insider; Mashable;


(via Eric Ginsberg/Associated Press)

Facebook Live Introduces New Capabilities

  • Facebook Live has extended its display options to include full screen capability for iOS devices. They also announced two other new features coming soon; longer broadcasts and a video only mode. Longer broadcasts enable longer video sharing and the video only mode allows users to temporarily hide the comments and reaction on the screen during live broadcasts.
  • What it means for brands: All of these updates are going to make a great impact on the Facebook Live experience and we have a lot to think about.
    • Full screen capabilities: this enhances the user viewing experience and we’ll be curious to see how this new feature impacts viewing longevity and overall Facebook Live broadcast results for brands.
    • Longer broadcasts: this is great for brands that want to share more but currently spend time developing multiple broadcasts that don’t performs as well as maybe one longer broadcast that captivates the audience. What’s next? Mini Facebook Live TV series? To play devil’s advocate, longer isn’t always better, so it will be interesting to see how much time users are spending watching the longer video or if they tune out after a few minutes.
    • Video only mode: many brands will take advantage of video only mode, especially pharmaceutical companies that are restricted from participating in Facebook Live due to legal restrictions and commenting issues. This may just be the workaround!

Additional resources: Mashable; Yahoo! Tech


Figure 2 (via Adweek)

Facebook Introduces New Audience Targeting Features

  • Facebook introduced a whole slew of new audience targeting features, including:
  • Advanced Custom Audiences: build custom audiences using multiple niche data inputs at once including: name, phone number, e-mail, location, date of birth, Facebook app user ID, and mobile advertiser ID.
  • Website Custom Audiences: create custom audiences based on who is visiting a website using: dynamic date, frequency, time spent, and aggregated values and devices.
  • Engagement on Facebook: create custom audiences based on audience engagements with lead ads and videos shared by a brand. The users that watch a majority of a brand’s videos are an important audience because advertisers can now specifically target those users.
  • Interest expansion: by selecting the Expand interests feature in the Detailed Targeting feature of Ads Manager, the software will expand interest targets that are likely to create more conversions.
  • Advanced matching: advertisers can use the customer data collected on their website, like phone numbers and email addresses, and match those with Facebook users. This allows the advertiser to retarget based on this new feature on the Facebook pixel.

What it means for brands: Facebook wants to be the first place advertisers go to share their content and target users. With each new capability, they are offering more and more opportunity for advertisers to target the right users, at the right time and truly maximize their advertising dollars, which latter up to their marketing KPIs and overall sales goals.


(via Marketing Land)





YouTube Introduces TrueView In-Display Video Ads

  • YouTube changed the name of the TrueView in-display video ads to TrueView discovery ads. In addition to this name change, YouTube will also be introducing the TrueView discovery ads to mobile search results for the first time. More relevant ads will also appear in the search results. YouTube cites that these adjustments have improved its click-through rates by 11%.
  • What it means for brands: This is huge news for brand, as this is the first time that Trueview ads can appear in the app’s mobile search results. YouTube is also reconfiguring their algorithm so that the most relevant ads appear within the search results. Since Trueview Discovery ads deliver high engagement when a user clicks on the video, brands should consider this capability to increase SEO and maximize their paid spend on YouTube.

Additional resources: Google


(via Google)




Instagram Imitates Snapchat with Instagram Stories

  • Instagram introduced Instagram Stories, a new feature that allows users to post videos or photos with a maximum lifespan of 24 hours. Sounds familiar right? This is very similar to Snapchat’s Story feature, where the stories disappear after 24 hours. This update came as a result of a decline in content being uploaded to the channel, mostly because Instagram has become a high-stress platform where users feel obligated to upload the best photos. Their mission is to capture the world’s moments and Stories will help alleviate some of the pressure that users have to upload their absolute best content.
  • What it means for brands: Instagram is hoping that users abandon Snapchat and that advertisers come back to the Facebook ecosystem. They know that audiences engage well with quick, disposable content, and they are not denying that Snapchat did it first and did it well – they just want to be players in the game. We’ll keep our eye on this roll out and further develop this impact it will for advertisers, but definitely continue to keep paid media budgets a priority.

 Additional resources: CNN; BBC


(via BBC)

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Pinterest Launching Native Video Player

  • We know everyone is upping their video presence, Pinterest The platform will be launching a full integrated native video player, which is set to roll out over the next few months. Pinterest reps have shared that video has increased 60% on the platform in the last year, and because of that, they are updating their video search tools to increase video views and content sharing.
  • What is means for brands: Pinterest already improved pin search, so video search takes the platform to a whole new level and will impact the way users interact with video. There is a lot of potential for the video player, and can ultimately improve the way users shop on Pinterest. We see some digital advertising plans rolling out soon after…

Additional resourcesDigital Trends


(via Social Times)





Reddit to Introduce New Ad Offering: Promoted User Posts

  • Reddit will soon roll out a new ad offering called Promoted User Posts. Within these posts, advertisers can attach a sponsored ad to user generated post that was shared on Reddit. For example, if a user creates a thread about a unique experience they had with a Go-Pro camera, Go-Pro can sponsor that thread. Reddit will then display that thread to users throughout the website, to who they think would be the most interested in the post. Reddit will need permission from the user who originally posted the thread before attaching a sponsorship to it. If the Redditers accept the sponsorship, they will receive lifetime of Reddit gold, a feature of benefits on the platform.
  • What it means for brands: Reddit has a user base of 240 million, which means there are a ton of people interacting with the content. If brands find that a large portion of their target audience lives on Reddit, then this could be a great way to expand conversation to the blog, as opposed to strictly social and media ads, which may lead to increased SEO and engagement with the content.

Additional resources: Reddit


(via Ad Age)


October 9th, 2006 was the day Google, king of search, decided to buy YouTube. It was a landmark moment for digital advertising as it signaled the beginning of a shift in focus from messaging that was primarily copy and images to a more engaging form of content – video. For a long time, YouTube reigned supreme, with viral hits such as ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ and the ‘Harlem Shake’ drawing the attention of millions. Marketers saw the impact on brands that embraced the platform, with GoPro cameras and Dollar Shave Club prime examples of brands who grew from startups to companies valued over a billion dollars. However, as with most situations in a digital ecosystem, change is par for the course.

October 13th, 2015, less than a decade later, Facebook decided to add a dedicated video channel right next to a user’s News Feed. This was another big step in the shift away from ‘static’ content. This was the first of many changes to the biggest social network on the planet that were implemented in an effort to make it a video-first platform. Fast forward only 10 months, and already most marketers say social platforms such as Facebook are more crucial to a video campaign’s success than a video platform such as YouTube.

FB Image

Source: The Future of Digital Video, by Trusted Media Brands, July 2016

This raises the question: why? What is Facebook doing that is changing perceptions so quickly?

Let’s take a quick look at some of the biggest factors:

  1. Ad-Blocking. The majority of Facebook users access the platform through a mobile app where ad-blocking, a growing concern among industry leaders, is not as alarming.
  2. New changes to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm. Recent changes have shifted focus away from brand content towards the content created by your connections on the platform. With one exception, video content.
  3. Integrating similar video products of competitors into their own offerings. A prime example of this would be Instagram’s new ‘Stories’ feature, a blatant copy of Snapchat’s own ‘Stories’, which was created after Facebook tested the feature first.
  4. The actions Facebook is taking to make uploading or creating video content as easy as possible. For example, Facebook can now take a few of your static images and combined them into an animated slideshow.
  5. Facebook Live. Few believed that Facebook’s live-streaming video offering would take off so fast, but after a broadcast from a woman in Texas about her purchase of a Chewbacca mask from Kohl’s brought in over 140 million views in just a few days those doubters have quickly disappeared.

Facebook Live is also the reason why the platform’s recent rise to video dominance will likely continue for some time. Over just the past few weeks they have added waiting rooms before broadcasts, extended the maximum broadcast time to four hours, spent over $50 million on publisher content, and begun testing mid-roll ads.

YouTube has begun making changes of their own in reaction to this competition from Facebook. They have restricted their ad products, added a live broadcast feature to their own mobile app, and increased the revenue content creators on the platform receive from users viewing their videos.

It will be interesting to see these two giants of advertising battle it out over the next few months and years. While Facebook has temporarily gained the advantage, YouTube still has the backing of possibly the most successful tech company on Earth.


W2O Social Scoop Logo_1024x512

Facebook has been busy these last few weeks making many changes across the platform, including updates to their Messenger app and updates to their new Instant Articles feature. Snapchat still hasn’t sat still since the announcement of their API, recently launching Memories, and we’re having flashbacks to the 90’s, with Pokémon GO topping the charts as the hottest game. Let’s take a deeper dive and find out what this means for brands.

Facebook Logo



Facebook Users to Restrict Live Audiences

  • Facebook’s API will soon allow users to restrict who gets to view Live Broadcasters can restrict by age, time zone, location, and gender. Not all Facebook users are privy to this new tool, only the broadcasters that share via Facebook’s API (content creators, media companies, & brands using specific software) have this privilege – not everyday users. Additionally, Facebook is also looking into introducing long-sharing live steams where broadcasters can post day or even week-long videos. More to come on this as the story develops.
  • What it means for brands: Now brands will have more flexibility when broadcasting live video from Facebook Live. They’ll be able to target more specific audiences by excluding certain demographics, that is, if they are using the proper tools that comply with the API.

Additional resources: Facebook for Developers


(via Marketing Land)

Facebook Updated their App-Install Ads

  • Facebook updated its app-install ads with the ability to target certain audiences based on the likelihood of users actually using the app, not just downloading it and never opening it again. The product being used to calculate these audiences is called App Event Optimization. It uses 14 different user actions that could signify if a user is willing to download an app. Some of these actions include how likely a user is using a shopping cart/wish list, using the check out, actually buying that product, rating the app from which the product was purchased from, and viewing content or searching for a specific app.
  • What it means for brands: Brands will now be able to understand who is actually using their app and who they should properly be targeting to download their app. Brands often have an inaccurate read of who is actually using their app, and this new feature will provide the data they need to find out if their goals are truly being met (versus “guessing”).

Additional resources: Marketing Land


(via Marketing Land)

Facebook Now Has 11,000 Chatbots

  • Back in April, Facebook announced that they would be launching chatbots in Messenger. These chatbots are digital customer service representatives for businesses. When a customer asks a question, they’re receive quick support. Since its inception, more than 11,000 chatbots have been added to Messenger, with over 23,000 people having signed up through ai, a Facebook service for developers. With the increase of chatbots, there has also been an improvement in these chatbots capability. For example, instead of replying just with text, the chatbots can now reply using GIFs, videos, and audio clips, among other files.
  • What it means for brands: Instead of manually replying to every message a brand receives on Facebook, these chatbots will make it easier to respond to everyone in a fast and efficient way. Also, less time can be allocated to responding to messages of customers, if a bot is doing this automatically, of course using approved messaging. This many not work for all brands, especially those that require stricter legal processes and those that need a personalized response.

Additional resources: CNBC; Forbes


(via TechCrunch)

Facebook Testing Offline Video Access in India

  • Due to poor mobile connectivity and streaming capabilities overseas, Facebook is testing offline video access in India. The platform is testing out a video download option that will allow users to download a video when connected to WiFi, which can then be viewed in Facebook when later offline.
  • What it means for brands: Efforts to expand video reach to offline users (especially overseas) provides advertisers with more targeting capabilities and a wider range of audience to reach. The real test to Facebook is how they will measure video views, impressions and more after the video has been downloaded since it is off the platform.

Additional resources: CNET


(via Digital Trends)

Facebook Introduces Instant Articles on Messenger

  • Facebook enabled Instant Articles for Android users, which will load within the Messenger app. The feature started softly rolling out last year, and is not yet available for iOS users, but this is coming soon. Just like on desktop, posts that are Instant Articles will include a lightning bolt in the preview.
  • What it means for brands: Instant Articles present the opportunity for brands to share full-length stories, blog posts, articles, etc. directly from the Facebook app, as opposed to users have to take the next step to click-out to a website. Bringing Instant Articles to Messenger is a smart move, because brands can expand the reach of their content to mobile users and streamline into sharing opportunities from mobile to mobile.

Additional resources: The Verge;


(via Mashable)

 Brands Can Block Their Ads from Reaching Certain Apps/Websites

  • Facebook will soon allow brands to block [their] ads from appearing on certain websites or applications when those advertisements are extended to Facebook’s Audience Network. This will be available in Business Manager via a new feature called Block List. Although not all users of Business Manager can use this feature yet, the social media platform intends on integrating it into all brand’s/agencies’ Business Managers gradually.
  • What it means for brands: Advertisers can make sure their content is not being served to the wrong audiences, but more importantly, their content will not be mixed into association with “un-branded” 3rd party sites. Brands do not always want to have a presence in a space that does not properly represent their brand.

Additional resources: Facebook


(via Adweek)

Messenger Logo




Facebook Messenger Introduces Support for More Than 1 Account

  • Messenger will now allow users to sign into multiple accounts while using the iOS app. Users/community managers can easily navigate different accounts without having to sign in and out of each account. Within the app’s setting, users can go into ‘Switch Accounts’ to use another account.
  • What it means for brands: Advertisers that manage multiple Facebook accounts and/or have multiple accounts for one brand will be able to easily navigate between accounts without having to logout. Brands use Messenger to provide customer service, and if they have multiple accounts for their one brand, this new feature will make it easier and more efficient to respond to all of their customers. One caveat is to make sure to double check what brand the communication is coming from. Community managers can more easily mix-up the brands and respond from the wrong brand name, which is not best practice and presents confusion for consumers.

Additional resources: TheNextWeb


(via Adweek)

Pokemon Logo




Pokémon GO Will Soon Partner with Brands for Sponsored Ads

  • In case you missed the biggest news in the social world, Pokémon is making a comeback, this time as a mobile app. With Pokémon GO being Nintendo’s most successful mobile endeavor to date, the app will soon be partnering with brands for promotional ads within the app – WELL, that was fast. There will be sponsored locations within the app that advertisers can buy, on a cost-per-visit basis. More people are playing Pokémon GO than using Twitter and time spent on the app has surpassed time spent on both Facebook
  • What it means for brands: The Pokémon GO audience spans across a large range of targets, and presents a large audience that is interested in the content. The game won’t be popular forever, so while it’s hot, it’s a great time for brands to get some “play” time within the app.

Additional resources: AdvertisingAge; Digital Trends


(via Digital Trends)

Twitter Logo



Twitter Uses Can Now Apply for Their Account to Be Verified

  • Twitter users will now be able fill out an application to become a verified account. In order for Twitter to accept a user’s application, they will need to ensure the authenticity of the account and will take a close look at the information provided on the application, which is fairly basic information that they will confirm before verifying the account. More information on the applications and next steps can be found here.
  • What it means for brands: Users are more inclined to trust a brand that is verified because the verification provides a sense of “Twitter” authenticity and credibility. This update helps users find real accounts to connect with a broader audience of real users. Twitter tends to favor verified accounts and a verified account presents additional privileges as a user, so it will be interesting to see how Twitter manages/treats verified accounts moving forward if it’s no longer “special.”

Additional resources: Twitter Blogs


(via USNews)

Snapchat Logo




Snapchat Introduces New ‘Memories’ Feature

  • Snapchat introduced a new Memories feature that allows users to save their snaps in a Snapchat camera roll, search for them later, edit them, and re-share as a snap. This change questions Snapchats brand messaging, which has always been focused on quick, real-time content that disappears in seconds, but this new archive feature stirs the pot a bit. While it makes sense since users were saving their snaps as screenshots, or more recently to their camera role, this is a big change for the brand overall. With these changes, Snapchat expects users to spend more time using the app.
  • What it means for brands: With Memories, brands can save snaps that have been used on the brand’s Snapchat. These snaps can contribute to an asset library of photo and video that can used later in a Snapchat story or shared across other social networks and branded sites. This is especially great for brands that have slower approval processes than just real-time sharing, because now they can back and share the content on Snapchat that is not timely (but they’re still engaging with their audience on the platform). On the consumer front, users can save more of their photos that have brand filters on them and reuse at a later time, increasing the longevity of the branded filter and contributing to raising brand awareness across social media and beyond.


(via iDownloadBlog)


There’s no denying that video is the hottest form of content right now, especially with the emergence of live broadcasting that’s sweeping the internet through Facebook LIVE and Periscope.

It can be time consuming and expensive for companies to create video, but that’s only half the battle. The fact that you have a video is not as exciting to other people as it is to your internal team. So how do you make sure the right people actually see your video?

It comes down to two things – optimizing your video on YouTube so people can find it and distributing your video in the right way in the right places. Here are a few highlights for both of these areas.

Optimize video descriptions

Optimize Your Video

  • It’s important to identify your target audience for the specific video and what problem they are trying to solve by watching your video.
  • Research keywords for your video listing by using tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Google Web Master Tools and YouTube and Google suggest.
  • Structure your YouTube channel as a homepage for your video content, with your playlists as your category level pages and your videos as your product or keyword level pages.
  • Optimize your YouTube video summary using key words, with a strong title and robust summary. Link to your website using the full URL address and include a subscribe link.

Right length for video

Distribute Your Video

  • Create a dynamic end screen where people can click through to your other videos and subscribe.
  • Ask viewers to subscribe to your channel three times – in your video, on the end screen and in the summary copy. When recording videos, reference other videos you’ve made that your audience may be interested in.
  • Consider YouTube paid advertising to target your specific audience when they are watching. YouTube has a number of paid options including video pre-views, side bar listings, overlay in-video ads and display ads.
  • Share video on your web site, blog and other social channels, paying close attention to the optimal lengths per channel. Videos will have higher reach if uploaded directly to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, LinkedIn and Pinterest both allow you to share YouTube links and still feature them prominently.

To dig deeper into these areas, take a look at the slides we co-presented at the PR News digital conference last month, “Become a YouTube Distribution Star for Your Organization.”

By Missy Berggren and Sri Nagubandi

Ask any millennial if they’re sick of writing cover letters and you’ll be met with a resounding YES.

My YES would be particularly loud. While in the market for a Summer 2016 internship, I drafted upwards of 50 unique cover letters. The process, tedious and tiresome, stole nearly a week of my spring semester altogether. As I rearranged my skills and reworded my background into charming, industry-appropriate epithets, I found myself wondering how and why my potential value could be condensed into three paragraphs in a PDF. And I’m a writer. Imagine how an intern applying for a graphic design position might feel.

Particularly in the age of social media and technology, there has to be a better way to recruit and evaluate potential interns than asking them to draft and submit a cover letter. We threw out the typewriter when the computer came along; why not replace the outdated and impersonal cover letter with one of the diverse multimedia platforms available today? Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets are already intrinsic to my generation’s daily experiences. It’s only logical that we begin to utilize them for professional purposes

Many companies are doing just that. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Snapchat have become powerful tools for internship research, recruitment, and even candidate evaluation. LookSharp, an internship and entry-level job database dedicated to connecting students with employment opportunities, found that 68% of college students used social media to find an internship in 2015. Their report also indicated that 49.5% of students used social media to research potential internships, while 46.2% used it to network with company employees in advance of applying.

In addition to its increased relevance for internship research and networking, social media is also becoming a common platform on which companies evaluate potential candidates. One agency dumped resumes, cover letters, and even interviews in favor of a Snapchat contest this recruitment season, challenging potential interns to create a Snapchat story for one of the agency’s existing clients. The prize for creators of the best stories? Internship placements at one of the company’s four U.S. offices.

Space150 is not alone in their commitment to modernizing intern recruitment. L’Oréal, Fetch, and other companies have streamlined their social media experiences and released multimedia applications in recent recruitment seasons. These strategies, the brands report, have attracted previously hard-to-reach applicants and altogether sourced more qualified, interested, and digitally proficient candidates.

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are mainstays of these modern strategies, though YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and even Tinder have supported intern recruitment on multiple occasions.

It’s safe to say that a recruitment shake-up is in the works, at least among companies with a digital presence. Agencies promising their clients an integrated, up-to-date media experience should do the same for their potential employees, as there’s something inherently logical about sourcing and evaluating candidates within the platforms with which they’d work in an eventual internship or job.

My fellow W2O interns are equally intrigued – and to some degree, relieved – by social media’s developing convergence with intern recruitment. They shared their comments, questions, and concerns with me through an anonymous survey, the results of which are summarized below.

Company social media accounts are key facets of the internship search.

Of the W2O interns who responded to my survey, 78% reported using social media for their internship search process. That group explained that they routinely use platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to look for internship opportunities, as well as to research specific companies. One intern indicated that Twitter and Instagram are the main mechanisms by which he evaluates a company’s culture and visualizes himself within it. Furthermore, 57% of interns surveyed counted a company’s LinkedIn presence as essential to their decision to apply. If a company did not have a strong, updated LinkedIn presence, they might not even submit an application. 21% said the same about Twitter and 14% indicated that their prospective employer must have a strong Instagram presence.

Social media recruitment strategies like Space150’s Snapchat contest are creative and well-suited to the millennial audience, but impose high barriers to entry for applicants.

85% of the survey’s response pool said they would participate in Space150’s innovative recruitment strategy. One intern called it a “pretty cool way to reach millennials,” another indicated that the mere existence of the contest would increase his interest in the company, and a third argued that the contest could easily demonstrate a candidate’s worth. A few interns shared reservations, pointing out that the highly specified evaluation would automatically prohibit applicants unfamiliar with Snapchat from applying and that prospective interns might not be comfortable applying so publically.

Though W2O interns are generally receptive to social media recruitment strategies, they are concurrently less than comfortable with prospective employers having access to their social media accounts – an inevitable byproduct of applying via a social platform.

Interns were evenly split on the issue of company access to their Facebook accounts. 50% answered yes, I’m comfortable with a prospective employer reviewing my Facebook profile and photos, but the same percentage of interns responded that they were not comfortable with that scenario. The story was a little different for Twitter, where 78% of interns indicated comfort with a prospective employer reviewing their Tweets. 57% were okay with an employer reviewing their Instagram, but only 21% were willing to share their Snapchat account in the professional sphere – an interesting outcome, considering their willingness to engage with Space150’s innovative application.

Social media is more important on the company side than on the applicant side. 

Multimedia recruitment strategies are interesting, W2O interns summarized, but presently a company’s social media presence is more relevant to the internship search than its ability to evaluate via social media. W2O interns are using social media, particularly LinkedIn, to look for internship openings, network, and research companies. One intern confirmed that social media was a “big part of why I liked W2O.” Their social media accounts, the intern continued, provided a glimpse into the company culture and relayed its strong community vibe – “which I think people really look for in a workplace.”

W2O’s Talent Acquisition Associate Taylar Haney, who oversees the company’s internship program and all related recruitment, also weighed in on the ways in which intern recruitment is evolving. She agreed that the industry is moving towards social media integration, but noted that many agencies have room to grow in terms of their appeal to millennial applicants. She cited career-specific company social media accounts as a primary area for improvement, a strategy employed to great success by L’Oréal but not emulated across the board. If interns are doing their research on social media, she said, companies should meet them halfway with updated career pages.

Taylar also spoke to the concern among W2O employees that social media evaluation strategies could leave their social presence vulnerable to review by potential employers. She underscored how important it is to keep one’s social media presence “clean” and professional, but also assured that she doesn’t always review an applicant’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social profiles before hiring them. “LinkedIn is a must,” she told me, “but I and the rest of the Human Resources department prefer not to look at other forms of social media. That doesn’t mean we won’t do it, but it’s not guaranteed that we will, either.”

So what’s the takeaway, besides the fact that it’s time to get rid of cover letters wherever possible? I’d argue that the story is still developing, as many companies – including digital or social media-based agencies – are still employing traditional recruitment and evaluation methods to source interns. Furthermore, concerns about privacy and accessibility linger on the applicant side.

What’s clear, though, is that a company’s social media presence is more crucial than ever, as interns are certainly looking to research and network with potential employers on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and even other, less conventional platforms.

Me, I’m looking forward to the day when my three PDF paragraphs can be condensed into 140 characters, 6 seconds, or an unspecified time frame on a still-to-be-developed social media platform. But for now, I’ll make do with cover letters – just know that I’m using Facebook and Twitter to research them.

We started our Twitterendum series asking what would happen if only Twitter users voted in the referendum. We concluded that post by saying:

“Of course, tweets are not votes. Twitter users do not reflect the UK population as a whole. Twitter users account for roughly a quarter of the population (23%) and tend to skew young and urban.”

While we were well aware of the limitations in the Twitter dataset, we were equally curious to see what it could tell us about voting intentions. So, now the UK has voted and the results are in, how did the Twitter model fare?

All in all our Twitter analysis accurately forecast the direction of the vote (whether the location skewed ‘stay’ or ‘leave’) in 248 out of 381 Local Authority Districts (LADs). It inaccurately forecast the direction in 91 LADs, and a further 39 LADs didn’t have enough data so were unable to be placed in either camp.

W2O Group, Brexit Vote, analytics

The predictions for the frontrunners in the ‘remain’ camp were very accurately predicted. Cambridge, Oxford, Exeter, Cardiff, Brighton and Hove, Glasgow, Edinburgh and parts of London, all led the referendum’s ‘remain’ category with a margin of 20% or more. Ceredigion was the only exception, which was forecast as the ‘remain’ frontrunner by the model, but only did so by a margin of 10%. The model accurately predicted the top Bremain locations in England, and only fared slightly worse in Scotland (it didn’t predict as much intensity for remain in places like East Dunbartonshire), and obviously didn’t include places like Gibraltar (where an impressive 96% voted ‘remain’).

Brexit Vote W2O Group analytics

The ‘leave’ camp were marginally less well represented. All leading members of ‘leave’ in the Twitter model were accounted for in the final vote tally, but not with the same level of intensity. Burnley, Hartlepool, Kingston upon Hull and Wakefield scored margins of above 35% in favour of ‘leave’, and experienced similar levels in the model. Predictions for Eastbourne and Oldham were also broadly in line with voting outcomes, albeit less so. However, Twitter frontrunners for ‘leave’ didn’t line up with actual outcomes. Boston, South Holland, Castle Point, Thurrock, Great Yarmouth and Fenland experienced margins of 40% and above for Brexit in voting and had much lower ratios in the twitter model. A large part of this was due to the fact that our model de-emphasised areas with a low Twitter handle representation, a factor in those six locations. Havering was easily the worst call made by the model, which was seen to be slightly in the ‘stay’ camp; final referendum result placed Havering as radically in favour of Brexit, with 70% of the population there in favour of ‘leave’.

It wasn’t so much the direction of the vote in LADs that was erroneous, but the extent of the vote. The referendum is a total voting tally, and is called when either ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’ passes the winning post by achieving 50% of ballots cast, plus at least one vote, so the actual margin in each area is extremely important. That is to say, rather than determining victory on a per LAD basis, the overall number of votes were the most important. Our model was constructed primarily using unique accounts backing either camp from the LAD, and the percentage of the population they represented. In almost all LADs, Twitter results overestimated the margin in favour of the remain camp, overemphasising victory margins and downplaying the losses, pointing to a firm ‘remain’ victory. London was especially problematic, which we estimated as a single entity rather than breaking it into multiple zones. This effect was greatest in outer London areas, proving completely inaccurate in forecasting the result in the aforementioned Havering.

W2O Group analytics and Brexit vote

No matter what the size of the sample, uncontrolled bias skewed the results. Age was a major determining factor for the model’s shortcomings. Simply put, people aged 45 and above were scarcely represented.

Twitter skews young, urban and only accounted for approximately 23% of the population (30% of internet users in UK). Our model forecast a decisive victory, and under the above conditions it was fairly predictive. However, not only did voters aged 18-34 account for only a fraction of the population, they appeared to have voted a lot less (only 36% of 18-24s and 58% of 25-34s voted, according to Sky Data.

As a result, the model’s forecasting generally biased towards a group that leaned towards ‘remain’ (75% of 18-24s voted to ‘remain’ according to YouGov). Whilst this explains the underlying lean toward Bremain, the areas with a disproportionate amount of older voters were inherently less accurate. We can see that for the majority of areas with a disproportionate amount of people above 45, the model predicted completely inaccurate results.

The same bias was was even more present in urban centres, where data was much more concentrated.

When choosing the source of a tweet, we assigned based on self-reported locations in each twitter handle bio.  Overall, twitter users reporting their location were far more likely to identify a major city than a rural place, even if only peripherally attached to it. The result was that LADs containing a major city had a disproportionate amount of content, higher percentage of representation and thus higher scores in our model.

Ultimately, cities likely had even more of a ‘stay’ lean due to high proportion of younger people combined with higher scores due to a larger amount of unique accounts identified.

We calibrated the model to only include people living UK through analysing self-reported city of origin and the usage of the English language. While this is not necessarily a bad way of representing people who live in the UK, there is no doubt a high number of non-voting migrants in our model. According to a House of Commons Briefing Paper on migration, 5.3 million migrants lived in the UK, 2.9m of which came from the 27 EU member countries. It’s not unreasonable to imagine that this population would have been very active in the run up to the vote. This lends further bias to the ‘remain’ camp, as reflected in Figure 3 above.

So, Twitter is useful at understanding a very specific audience in a very specific context, but we must be wary of stretching it further. A referendum is a truly seismic event, with all walks of life represented in the electorate. While public and accessible to most, Twitter is far from representative of the UK population as a whole. The value of its data lies in illuminating a particular part of society and in the ease of access and quantity of its data. Size of sample is certainly important (the number of unique accounts observed is much higher than that accessible through traditional polling), but with such heavy bias it ultimately overpowers the ability for the model to make predictions about events encompassing the totality of society. The Brexit result was surprising to many, and shows how easily we’re caught in our own echo-chamber, surrounded by like-minded people and unable to fathom the full spectrum of opinion. Looking at Brexit through Twitter underscores this phenomena and the importance of a balanced dataset if one is to make observations of any kind.

Predictions using data fare well when the underlying elements follow specific rules. Politics can be hard to predict because those rules tend to be opaque, or only sporadically followed. Recent failures in data-driven models of the political landscape (The Brexit result or Trump’s nomination, for example) could be down to the fact that the electorate is ultimately changing the underlying rules on what they will vote for. Making sense of the world using data is an important advantage and a cornerstone to better making better predictions. Nonetheless, when making predictions with data (irrespective of robustness of model and its accompanying data), it is good to remember that the world remains an uncertain place, and to approach predicting it with a healthy dose of humility and scepticism.

Earlier this month, more than 35,000 oncologists, communications pros, journalists and others arrived at McCormick Place in Chicago for one of the buzziest medical conferences in existence: The American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting.

The meeting is considered one of the most important events for those working in the oncology space. It brings together the brightest minds in cancer to highlight key presentations and groundbreaking data that can lead to saving lives.

The oncology community is very active in terms of commitment to breakthrough science *and* social media. In this case, Twitter has overwhelmingly been the breakout social media platform in medicine. Over the course of the ASCO media cycle, which starts on May 18, when abstracts are released online, and ends when the conference concludes, the #ASCO16 hashtag was used m 88,590 times. While some conferences have been more stringent in terms of photography, video and social media use, ASCO has been one of the most forward-thinking medical meeting organizers when it comes to social media.

Last year the grand experiment was Periscope. But the hype around Periscope, and even its spiritual sibling, Facebook Now, had largely faded.

Instead, social media attention this year was focused on the breakout media-sharing app, Snapchat. The mobile app lets you send quickly disappearing messages, photos, and videos, either directly to friends or to everyone who follows your account. If you haven’t heard of it, check with your children, anyone under the age of 30, or First Lady Michelle Obama. Person-to-person content disappears after a few seconds and posts to a user’s public “Story” disappear after 24 hours.

Snapchat attracted a few high-profiles users at ASCO. Don Dizon, M.D., a Massachusetts General oncologist and early Twitter adopter, waded into Snapchat, but no one at the meeting invested more than Emil Lou, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Minnesota, who goes by “cancerassassin1” on Snapchat and Twitter. Lou shared a number of snaps at ASCO16, and told me that he was able to add thoughts and a “more personal touch” following sessions he attended.

“I had a lot of fun using Snapchat at ASCO. It’s interesting that the scientific and medical community are ahead in so many ways, but behind in others, like social media,” Lou told me during a phone call.

According to reports, Snapchat is estimated to have 85.5 million users in the US by 2020, and per Dr. Lou, maybe Snapchat might make its way into the ASCO app at #ASCO20.

The idea of using Snapchat had some institutional support, too. We used custom Snapchat geofilters at our annual “Unofficial” tweetup to help people customize dress up their snaps from the event, but the bigger news was ASCO’s embrace of the technology: they had their own geofilters, available to anyone at within McCormick place.

According to an ASCO spokeswoman, the filters were used about 520 times and viewed more than 15,700 times. At least one of those users was Business Insider’s Lydia Ramsey…and this PR chick:


While Snapchat numbers pale in comparison to those on Twitter, with time, Snapchat could be the next big social platform at medical meetings. And as Dr. Lou pointed out to me, the next generations of medical researchers/oncologists will likely live to see a cure for cancer, and just maybe Snap their way there…

On the eve of tomorrow’s EU referendum vote, Britain braces itself for a momentous decision in deciding whether the country should “remain a member of the European Union” or “leave the European Union.”  Week after week we have been tracking the data and while polls continue to show a tight vote we’re ready to make a call on the Twitterendum.


Come tomorrow, we believe that UK Twitter would crown the #StrongerIn campaign victorious.


At least on Twitter, the results are quite conclusive. The Brexit camp enjoyed a lead during a large part of the campaign, with far more outspoken supporters. Every ‘leaver’ contributed an average of 9.63 tweets to the cause, twice as many as Bremainers. However, in the end, raw account numbers proved far more important.

Brexit Analysis

Since the official campaign launch, the #StrongerIn camp has carved a growing lead in the total number of supporters, consolidating its lead in urban centers. This trend accelerated dramatically in the last three weeks, which experienced a sharp increase of unique accounts pledging their allegiance to staying in the EU. The effect of this swing is impressive, with the ‘stay’ camp ending with a 17% lead in unique accounts over ‘leave’ by week 26, having almost doubled its lead in the final three weeks.


So there you have it. A look at extremely an extremely complex political vote through the somewhat reductive lens of Twitter conversation. While the correlation between the Twitterendum results and the actual referendum outcome of the remains to be seen, I’m not suggesting that Twitter is representative of the totality of the British voting public. But it might serve as a good indicator, an alternative tool to augment traditional polling.

We plan to compare the actual results of the referendum to our model and investigate potential connections in the weeks following the final vote. In the meantime, happy voting!

linked in bad posts

Have you heard the rumblings about LinkedIn lately? Every week or so I see unrelated posts or someone in my LinkedIn feed complaining that it’s starting to look a bit too much like Facebook, with posts about celebrities and politics and other silly nonsense. I love spending time on LinkedIn for business related content and I agree it can be annoying when these posts pop up – like the ones I featured in the image above.

There are actually some easy things you can do to make your LinkedIn experience better, beyond complaining and dramatically logging off forever. Here are three ways to clean up your news feed.

LinkedIn responses

  1. Bite your tongue: Did you know that every time you like, or comment, on a LinkedIn post, it tells LinkedIn that you like that type of content and it broadcasts that post to everyone in your network? So if you comment on a post you don’t like with a complaint, such as “I’ve had it with these posts, I’m sick of LinkedIn turning into Facebook!” — everyone else in your network is also going to see that same annoying post plus your comment. And LinkedIn will be more likely to serve you this type of content in the future. The best thing to do here is avoid engaging with the posts you don’t like and instead, take action. Which brings me to…
  2. Unfollow the troublemakers: Don’t like something? Hover over the top right of the post where it says how long ago the post was written and it will turn into a small carrot arrow. Click on the arrow to see your options, including: Hide this update(so you won’t see it again), unfollow this person (they will remain a connection but you won’t see their updates in your news feed), or report this update (to report spam or scams to LinkedIn).
  3. Curate your news feed: You can add more interesting sources to your news feed by following businesses and influencers you admire. Simply search for them in the search box at the top of LinkedIn and click follow. You’ll start seeing their posts in your news feed when they have something to say. And remember, the more you engage with posts you appreciate (by liking, commenting or sharing), LinkedIn will give you more of it in your news feed. Engage more to signal to LinkedIn’s algorithms what type of content you like.

By doing these three things, you’ll notice an improvement in your news feed over time. I also hope you feel empowered to take action, instead of complaining or leaving. LinkedIn is a valuable resource and we can all help it stay that way.